Saturday, June 20, 2015

In Living Color:Triplets of Light

Photo by Jessie Eastland 2012


Vibrant color has always brightened my spirits, released my darkest fears, and shed light on the gloomiest shadows of my soul. I still remember a kindergarten field trip to a meadow blooming with violets, where I immersed myself in the sea of deepest purple hues, floating on a bed of green leaves, shimmering with pale silvery gold at the center of each blossom.

Oh, and the joy when I got my first box of 64 different colored crayons! I immediately drew a picture of diagonal lines and squiggles, each tone blending to the next to form a rainbow of brilliant colors. How exciting when our home got its first color television, and we sat staring in awe at the NBC peacock! From early childhood I have been blessed that the dreams I remember are in living color.

And when I had psychological testing to determine whether I could enter school a year early, I later learned that my responses to the black and white ink blots were highly advanced in their complexity and organization. But when confronted with the ethereal pastels on the colored blots, all I could utter was squeals of delight, or deep sighs of contentment, or at best, “Ooh, pretty!”

In Scripture, the earliest mention of color is in three verses (Genesis 37:3,23,32) describing Joseph’s coat of many colors, symbolizing the extravagance, range and richness of his father’s love, just as Our Father lavishly showers us with blessings! (Ezekiel 34:26)

The next mention of “colours” in Scripture, the word is repeated three times, ironically describing the richness of the spoil Sisera’s mother imagines he will bring home, not yet realizing he is dead (Judges 5:30). King David provided precious stones of many colors to decorate God’s house (1 Chronicles 29:2), and God promised Israel a building of gemstones with fair colors, specifically sapphires, agates, and carbuncles ((Isaiah 54:11-12).

God gave us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17), the full spectrum of visible color being but one of them. His visible creation speaks to the artistry. power, and majesty of the Creator, for it reflects His invisible attributes, eternal might and Godhead (Romans 1:20). He is the Master Painter Who designed the unfathomable beauty of each sunset, and the varied palette He used for every plant, creature and landscape (Genesis 1). Not only that, but He also gave us two eyes and one nervous system to be able to appreciate His handiwork in three dimensions.

One of the earliest questions children ask is “Why is the sky blue?” I believe our early fascination with color reflects our God-given desire to know our Creator (Acts 17:27), Who is the source of color as well as of all the beauty and complexity we see in the natural realm. We therefore have no excuse for not realizing there is an Intelligent Designer (Romans 1:20; Psalm 8; 19:5), and for not reaching out to the One Who designed us in His image as the masterpiece crowning His creation.

God Himself is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). Light encompasses a spectrum visible to the human eye, as well as higher and lower frequencies of energy, or electromagnetic radiation. God has allowed us to see His creation and from that to infer His creativity. As technology has advanced, we can now even “see” the invisible spectrum using special cameras and recording devices.

Because of His all-consuming glory, no man can see God’s face and live (Exodus 33:20), just as no human can stare into the sun without going blind. To our eye, sunlight appears white, but if we split a sunbeam using a prism, we can see all the colors comprising “white” light. While we are on earth, we can and should use the prism of God’s Word to learn more about His attributes, promises, and accomplishments as the One True Light (John 1:9; 3:19; etc.).

The prism shows us that there are three primary colors on which all other hues are based. Red may symbolize the shed blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:13; Hebrews 9:14; etc.); blue His living water (John 4:10-14.); and yellow or gold His life-sustaining Gospel light (John 9:5; !2:46; 2 Corinthians 4:4);.

The three secondary colors of purple (red and blue), green (blue and yellow), and orange (yellow and red) may also portray different aspects of Christ. Royal purple symbolizes His role as King of Kings (Revelation 17:14;19:16). He is also the Saviour giving eternal life (John 3:16,36) foreshadowed by evergreen trees on earth. He is the Judge Who rained fire on Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24; Jude 1:7), Who sends those who reject Him to hellfire (Mark 9:43-45), and Who will one day cleanse the earth with fire (2 Peter 3:10-12).

God Himself shows us this full spectrum of colors in the rainbow, using droplets of water to refract sunlight into its component frequencies, which appear to us as three predominant stripes. How amazing that He used this sign to show His mercy, love and grace, by memorializing His promise to Noah never again to destroy the earth by flood (Genesis 9:11-17).

Unlike the disciples and followers of Jesus who knew Him during His earthly ministry, we cannot look into His compassionate eyes (Matthew 9:36;14:14; 15:32), see the Spirit of God descending on Him like a dove (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10), or watch His radiant ascension into Heaven (Acts 1:8-9). But His Spirit indwells each born-again believer who has trusted in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6). That Spirit teaches us about Christ, Who in turn reveals to us the glory of the Father (John 14:9,16-31; 1 John 2:23-24).

We cannot yet see Him in all His glory, but only as “through a glass, darkly.” Glass in the days that Paul wrote this verse (1 Corinthians 13:12) was made of sand, with many impurities, ripples, and variations in thickness, so that looking through a window pane was more like looking through frosted glass of today. We can perceive shapes, shadows, and movement, but not detail, color, or pattern.

I believe it is the impurities in our sin nature that cloud our perception of Christ. Thanks to Adam (Romans 5:12), we are marred by the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16) and we have captured too many images craved by our flesh, sought after in the world, and presented by the devil to tempt us. As the saying goes, it takes one to know one, and as long as we are hindered by our sin nature, we will not be able to see the full splendor of His radiance.

Human language and experience therefore lack the power to describe what John and Paul saw when given a glimpse of Heaven (1 Corinthians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 12:2) and the Lamb of God on His throne. John describes the enthroned Christ as three gemstones: jasper, sardine stone, and emerald, which generally have predominant hues of red, yellow and green, surrounded by a rainbow (Revelation 4:3). He also portrays the “mighty angel” of Revelation 10 as having a rainbow upon his head, (v. 1)

Oh, but the unspeakable joy we shall experience when we see Jesus face to face! Then we shall see and know Him as completely as He now knows us (1 Corinthians 13:12). May the day soon come when faith shall become sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) and we shall see, know and experience Him in living color!

© 2015 Laurie Collett
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22 comments:

  1. I could SWIM in color, so I delighted in finding you adore it as well. Have a blessed week, thank you for stopping by Behind the Garden Gate.

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    1. Thank you, Gayle, for your lovely comment! May you have a blessed week as well and enjoy God's creation in living color!
      Laurie

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  2. Dear Laurie,
    It is an interesting fact to me that the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil appealed to our first parents as good for food, pleasing to the eye, and desirable to make them wise - itself having a triune attribute.
    This has brought me to an enduring curiosity on how strikingly beautiful the antediluvian world must have been, with the present beauty, even in its richest, being only a shadow of what it must have been like originally.
    This has led me to a theory that during the antediluvian daytime, the cloudless sky was red rather than blue, as it is at present. This redness of the heavens being the result of a vast water vapour canopy which isn't there now. The red sky intensified the colours of all creation, hence the fruit being so attractive to Adam and Eve, making it look so delicious to eat. Also the climate must have been magnificent, allowing many land creatures to grow to enormous size (which we refer to as the Dinosaurs today) as well as enabling mankind to enjoy great longevity, more than ten times our present lifespans.
    Unfortunately, the glorious climate had also allowed some humans to grow into menacing giants, as a result of genetic tampering caused by interbreeding with "the sons of God" (Genesis 6:1-4). Unfortunately, it looks to me that this genetic tampering continued after the Flood, chiefly along the Canaanite line.
    Perhaps the danger of antediluvian mankind destroying itself as well as the earth through wickedness and sin, might have been one of the chief reasons why God sent the Flood, and the glorious beauty of the planet gone forever - until the re-creation of a new heaven and a new earth at the close of human history.
    Again, thanks for such a well-composed article, and I hope I did not offset your blog by such a large contribution.
    God bless.

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    1. Dear Frank,
      The Garden of Eden must have been spectacularly beautiful, and once Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden and the curse of sin began to take its toll, the beauty may have slowly started to dim. Even now, more pristine parts of the earth have amazing beauty. That is a fascinating theory that the antediluvian sky may have been red. It fits with the old maxim of "red at night, sailor's delight," since there was no rain before the flood. The lighting during a red sunset truly does enhance the appearance of what we see. Looking forward to seeing what God has planned for the new heavens and new earth -- we cannot even begin to imagine1
      Thank you as always for sharing your fascinating perspective.
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  4. Love that you use colors to talk about heaven and Christ. Colors are never more vivid than in nature where God paints the most beautiful of scenes for us. I cannot imagine what heaven will be like, but cannot wait to experience it. Stopping by from Playdates, you are my neighbor.

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    1. Thanks, Kim, for your visit and lovely comment! Sharing your anticipation of Heaven and the full rainbow of colors and visual delights He is planning for us!
      Love in Christ,
      Laurie

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  5. I am continually awed by God's multi-dimensional detail - It's so finite that I cannot quite grasp it, just be in awe of it! I am continually amazed at the color palate from snow to sunrises! You express the depth of that detail beautifully!

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    1. So true -- even the details that we can see flood and overwhelm our senses, and when we consider what is going on at the cellular, molecular, ans atomic level, it just boggles the mind! Thank God we serve a Creator Who has infinite wisdom, power and creativity! Thank you so much for your kind words and encouraging comment.
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  6. I love your study of color today! I can relate to the joy of a new box of crayons especially one with 64 colors to dig into and color away. I like the connection between color and how it is introduced in God's word. You always point me to new ways to look at God's word that when I am just reading I don't think about. Thank you for teaching me and showing me the depth that is present when we read His word. Barbie and I are so blessed that you are part of The Weekend Brew community.

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    1. Mary, I am really blessed by your comment! Thank you for being such an encourager and blessing, and for hosting with Barbie the lovely Weekend Brew community. May God bless you both for all you do to spread His Word!
      Love in Christ,
      Laurie

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  7. Laurie,
    I think you should be a teacher on the subject of 'colour'. I love colour and think we have a beautiful world. However, I could not describe to anyone the colour and beauty that was in the place that I was taken to when I had what people call a 'near death experience'. It was beyond anything I could have imagined.
    I have enjoyed reading your post Laurie, a lot of research has gone into it. Well done.
    God bless.

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    1. Wow, Brenda, thank you for your very kind words! Your undescribable experience of colors and beauty to come make even even more "homesick" for that amazing world I have not yet known. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and bring the day when our faith shall be sight!
      May you have a blessed week in Him,
      Laurie

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    2. Amen to what you have said Laurie.

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  8. as you pointed out, human language and even human intellect can't fully fathom what God has said and promised, as I Corinthians 2:14 states. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Fortunately, as verse 16 says, " we have the mind of Christ."

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    1. Amen, Donald! The Spirit teaches born-again believers that we are children of the Father and gives us that glorious hope, looking forward to a Heaven whose beauty and bliss we cannot possibly begin to comprehend in the natural. Thank you for sharing your insights and God bless.
      Laurie

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  9. Oh yes, we shall experience unspeakable joy when we see Jesus face to face! The One who colors our days so beautiful. He make all things new.

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    1. Joy unspeakable and full of glory! Praise God for His amazing creativity and beauty in all that He is, does, and has created. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
      God bless you, Ariella.

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  10. What a beautiful picture, and the picture you painted with your words is beautiful also! I enjoyed how you made the connection to scripture and color, and how God is light. Thanks so much for linking up with #SocialButterflySunday this week! I hope you will link up again this Sunday :)

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and uplifting comment, and thanks so much for hosting! You are a blessing and encourager!
      Love in Christ,
      Laurie

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  11. I love this, I'm always drawn to color too. In fact, I just bought an adult coloring book yesterday. Coloring brings me peace and I love a box of markers or colored pencils! Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday linkup last week. Pinned to our linkup board.

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    1. Thank you, Tanya, for your lovely comment and for hosting! Adult coloring books are becoming much more popular and widely available lately, although even many years ago I remember buying them in art supply stores. Thank you also for pinning my post -- I really appreciate it!
      May you have a blessed week in Him,
      Laurie

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